Hannah Freeman, a junior at Fort Osage High School, is playing Belinda Cratchit in the Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s annual production of “A Christmas Carol.” For more than 30 years, the theater has produced the popular holiday show, revamping the classic story in recent years. The set was rebuilt last year to include a revolving stage for the 30th anniversary. There are special effects throughout the production.
Hannah Freeman remembers the first role she ever had in the theater.
“My first audition I ever had was on my seventh birthday for the Children’s Performing Theatre in Independence,” said the now 16-year-old. “I played a jester and had one line and a small dance. It has just blossomed from there.”
Freeman, a junior at Fort Osage High School, is playing Belinda Cratchit in the Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s annual production of “A Christmas Carol.” For more than 30 years, the theater has produced the popular holiday show, revamping the classic story in recent years. The set was rebuilt last year to include a revolving stage for the 30th anniversary. There are special effects throughout the production.
The show runs daily through Dec. 26 at Spencer Theatre, 4949 Cherry St. in Kansas City. All of the youth roles are double cast, so the shows are split. Freeman will perform in about 25 shows, including student matinees.
“I grew up with this story. My family and I watch the ‘Muppets Christmas Carol’ every year,” Freeman said. “It is one of those great family classics, so when the youth auditions started, I decided to try out. I never thought I would get a named role like Belinda (the youngest of the two Cratchit sisters).”
Freeman said she is thrilled to have the opportunity to perform with a professional company like the Kansas City Repertory Theatre. In addition to her roles in Fort Osage High School productions, including the lead of Anne Shirley in “Anne of Green Gables” as a freshman, Freeman has been in productions for the City Theatre of Independence and Blue Springs City Theatre, Theater for Young America and the Children’s Performing Theatre. She was also an understudy in the KC Rep’s production of “August: Osage County” earlier this year.
“I have always been a dancer, so acting started for me more as an extension of dancing,” she said. “But it really has taken over my life, and I started auditioning for more parts. It has turned into something that I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Melissa Freeman, Hannah’s mother, said the experience of performing with the KC Rep has been positive and encouraging. She said Hannah is “very organized and has a strong work ethic,” so she tends to thrive under challenging circumstances.
“She has loved being around professional actors and has learned so much from them,” she said. “When I see Hannah on stage, I am so proud of her. She does such a good job. I am also always surprised at how she develops her character – even though it’s Hannah, when she is on stage, it is as fresh and new for me as it is for the rest of the audience. I love watching her perform.”
Acting is not Freeman’s only activities. She continues to study dance as well as voice at the Music Arts Institute. A straight “A” student at Fort Osage High School, she is a member of the National Honor Society and participates in numerous organizations, including the drama club and choir.
“The school has been so supportive during this process, so that has been really nice,” she said. “This is a professional theater and everyone has so many expectations of this show. It is hard to live up to those expectations. But the experience has been exciting. The large stage that rotates is also a little scary. I think what I love most, however, is having the chance to play make believe and having the audience believe with you.”
For more information on the Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol” or to purchase tickets, visit the theater’s website at www.kcrep.org.